Hooray for Divorce! 

After Marriage, How to Plan Your Fabulous Same-Sex Divorce

Good news, jilted lovers: Oregon is a wonderful place to get divorced!

Now that you've said your vows, take a moment to consider that your eternal love has the same chances as a coin flip. But because laws around same-sex unions vary by state, the legal world of same-sex divorce is a Wild West.

Some states have refused to let queer couples end their marriages because doing so would require the state to recognize the union to begin with. For those couples, getting a divorce requires moving back to whatever state originally okayed their vows. Ugh. Even if the couple achieves divorce, the same property and financial laws that govern a straight divorce sometimes don't apply to same-sex unions. Double ugh.

"I'd call it a patchwork quilt of laws, except that those are usually lovely. This is not," says longtime local LGBT lawyer Beth Allen. "This is a mishmash of laws. Until marriage equality is federal law, we're going to have parallel universes existing in each state."

In the Oregon court version of reality, annulments of domestic partnerships have so far been smooth. However, the couple must register as domestic partners in Oregon (even if you were married in another state) to be able to dissolve their legal relationship. If you register as domestic partners, the state treats your dissolution basically the same as a straight divorce.

"If, however, you are married somewhere else and didn't register here and then get divorced, your property is going to be treated like you're unmarried," says Allen. That means you'll have to work out how to split your stuff—the court won't assume it's split 50/50—and you wouldn't be able to get alimony.

The big advice is not to get a civil union or marriage in any and every state you can. If you split up, you'll have to figure out the different legal breakup structures in each state. "Every time you register or get married in another state, you are potentially creating a real hassle for yourself," says Allen. "Don't collect them like baseball cards."

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